Time of Bible teaching, prayer and praise – Sunday 19th April 2020

Hello and welcome to our time of prayer praise and Bible study for Sunday the 19th of April ‘Alleluia. Christ is risen Let me hear it He is risen indeed. Alleluia Following on from Easter Sunday we continue to celebrate the hope and the new life that Jesus created on that first Easter Sunday 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 3 says this ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy he has given us new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish spoil or fade.’ Well we’re going to sing our first song together. It’s an Easter favourite so why not have it the Sunday after Easter Thine be the glory, risen conquering son. Endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won Now our singing will be led by Hannah but let’s all join in at home the words will be coming up on the screen Let’s sing together We’re continuing our series in Luke’s Gospel. Last Sunday of course we had the empty tomb and the resurrection Today we’re with the disciples on the Emmaus Road and Mark Kavanagh from Lostock Church is going to be reading to us from Luke 24 starting at verse 13 Do pause here, and pick up your Bible so that you can read along Today’s reading is taken from Luke 24 verses 13 to 35 On the road to Emmaus ‘Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem They were talking with each other about the things that had happened As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognising him He asked them ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’ They stood still their faces downcast

One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, ‘Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened here these days?’ ‘What things?’ he asked ‘About Jesus of Nazareth’, they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place In addition some of our women amazed us They went to the tomb earlier this morning but didn’t find the body They came and told us they had seen visions of angels, who said he was alive Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus He said to them ‘How foolish you are and how slow to believe all the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and the Prophets, he explained to them all that was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he was going further But they urged him strongly to ‘Stay with us for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to them Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight They asked each other ‘Were our heart’s not burning within us whilst he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together, and saying, ‘It is true! The Lord has risen and appeared to Simon.’ Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognised by them when he broke the bread This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God In this Bible reading God shows us the difference that the resurrection of Jesus makes and the difference it makes to our lives today The resurrection brings triumph out of tragedy The resurrection brings great news out of sad news because in his resurrection Jesus clinched God’s saving plan for our lives and for this world We’re living in strange times aren’t we? and we’re all having to make sacrifices one way or another to keep ourselves and other people safe And it’s a time for many of disappointments of different kinds I wonder whether you’ve had any disappointments in the last month? Maybe a birthday party cancelled? Maybe a family meal or a family gathering has been cancelled? Maybe you’re sad not to be at school or at work maybe you’ve had work opportunities lost or postponed and there’s a real disappointment because there’s something we were looking forward to and now it’s gone and it’s not happening For some of course more than disappointment there’s grief Some of you I know, have lost loved ones, family members, friends, neighbours and it’s a time of real sadness Well for the two disciples on the road to Emmaus there was both disappointment and grief To them their friend had been killed – Jesus died on the cross – and also it seems that God’s whole rescue plan had been cancelled The thing they’d been hoping for No wonder in verse 17 we read that their faces were downcast And then in verse 21 they say ‘We had hoped that he’ – that is Jesus – ‘was the one who was going to redeem Israel’ They had such high hopes They had hoped that Jesus was the promised Messiah They had hoped that Jesus would come and turn this world on its head Bring in a new and everlasting time of love and peace and joy It started so well he’d ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey as we read two weeks ago But then it went all so terribly wrong The religious leaders plotted against him. The crowd turned on him. The Romans joined in And the one person who looked like he was the one to rescue God’s people was killed on a cruel cross The biggest symbol of shame and defeat was a cross in the Roman Empire. It said ‘You have lost and don’t anyone else dare try and do that again.’

Well these disciples were seriously disappointed And yet by nightfall of the same day their outlook is going to change completely and turn from grief into ecstatic joy What made the difference? The resurrection of Jesus Christ The resurrection of Jesus has the power to turn tragedy into triumph It did then and it does today too Well how did this turnaround from tragedy to triumph happen for these two on the road to Emmaus? Two things I want us to see. Firstly Jesus opens up the God’s plan to them Think of a jigsaw. I know that lots of you have been doing jigsaws as a few of you have told me in the last few weeks to keep yourselves occupied indoors Well these two on the road, what they knew about Jesus was a bit like a big jigsaw puzzle that they couldn’t put together They had the pieces, things like Jesus his miracles, his teaching, what God had promised through the prophets in the Old Testament But this piece – Jesus’ death on the cross this made no sense at all They just couldn’t fit the jigsaw pieces together, it didn’t fit, it didn’t make sense But then this mysterious stranger on the road – and we’re told that he’s Jesus, but they didn’t know it at the time – he starts to explain it all to them Verse 25 he said to them ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ and beginning with Moses and all the prophets he explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning himself Well that must have been an amazing couple of hours Jesus himself explaining to you the whole book of promise – the Old Testament – and how the whole thing was pointing forward to Jesus How Jesus fulfilled so many different promises So many different figures and patterns in the Old Testament as well Let me give you a smattering of what we’re told in the New Testament about how the Old Testament points to Jesus Jesus is the true Lamb of God like the Passover lamb at the time of rescue He is the true bread of life like the matter in the wilderness when God’s people were starving he gives life He is the true light in the darkness like that pillar of fire guiding them through the desert He is the great prophet. Greater than Moses that God promised at the end of Moses life He is greater than Joshua leading his people into the real Promised Land – the new heavens and the new earth He is the greater King David – the son of David the king who will sit on the throne and rule forever He is greater than Solomon in his wealth and wisdom He is the great son of man, as Daniel saw, with complete universal world power He is the great high priest who intercedes as the middle man for his people And he is the perfect sacrifice. A sacrifice that atones for all of our sin Well going back to our jigsaw, it’s like Jesus shows them the picture on the front of the box This is how it all fits together The key thing these two didn’t understand was why Jesus had to suffer? They just didn’t compute To them Jesus’s death was just a defeat, pure and simple But Jesus explains to them, as it’s promised in the Old Testament, that the Messiah must suffer and then, and only then, enter into his glory So God used the suffering of Jesus as a key part to achieve his plan to save It’s very clearly there in the scriptures as Elizabeth showed us in her Good Friday meditation, which is available on our YouTube channel Passages like Isaiah 53 show us that God’s servant is going to suffer for the sins of his people in order to save Passages like Psalm 22 show that the promised Messiah is going to be a King who suffers before he enters into glory God used the suffering of Jesus as the central plank in his plan to save I wonder whether the Old Testament makes sense to you in that way? Whether you’ve got a grasp of how God’s big plan fits together

and points to Jesus and how Jesus seals the deal? Could you explain that to someone not necessarily in great detail but the overall outline? Well one very helpful thing that some of us at Lostock Church enjoyed last term, back in the Autumn, were some Bible studies showing how the whole bible fits together, how the whole of the Old Testament promises Jesus, and then how the whole New Testament shows that Jesus fulfills what God promised It’s called God’s Big Picture, it’s a book and it’s been made into a series of 9 short videos, and the link to these videos will hopefully come up on the screen – somewhere up here just now – so later on you can click on that follow that link and start watching that seriously. It would be a great time – a great way of spending your time during this lockdown. 10 minutes per video and day and way more worthwhile with way more lasting benefit to you than anything else you could watch on TV really Netflix or anything like that. Not that that’s a bad thing necessarily, but this is really profitable. Let’s dig into God’s Word in this time Let’s grow in our faith and let’s see how the whole of God’s Word points to Jesus and how this shows that Jesus is the key to the whole of world history How he is the fulfilment of God’s plan and how he’s going to bring it all together in the end Well worth investing the time in that way That’s God’s big picture So that’s the first thing Jesus opens up God’s plan to them The second thing is: Jesus opens their eyes to see it These two disciples clearly knew Jesus very well. They weren’t two of the original twelve, but they were part of the wider group and yet they didn’t recognise Jesus even on a seven mile walk together. Why? Well we see in verses 15 and 16 as they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them, but they were kept from recognising him They were prevented from seeing. And this is symbolic Luke has said this kind of thing a number of times in his gospel the disciples were unable to see. That they were prevented from seeing This isn’t just a failure to recognise a friend because he’s completely out of context, and you weren’t expecting him to be alive but I’m sure there was some of that as well But they are spiritually unable to see and they need God to open their eyes to show them who Jesus really is In versus 30 – 32, when he was at table with them he took bread gave thanks broke it and began to give it to them Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight And they asked each other ‘Were not our hearts burning within us when he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ Jesus opened their eyes to see who he really is and it all came together for them So there’s a question for us today – has it all come together for you? Do you know the wonder and the joy and the power of Jesus fulfilling God’s plan through his death and resurrection? I guess for some of us it might just be these nice stories, traditional stories, we like hearing them but it doesn’t necessarily fill us with great excitement Well if that’s you here’s a prayer to pray, and actually for all of us to pray, Lord please open my eyes that I may see Jesus for who he really is Lord please open my eyes that I may see Jesus for who he really is When we do see who Jesus really is we understand how his death and resurrection change everything All of the struggles and disappointments of today are put into perspective they They might not go away completely I’m not saying put on a fake smile and pretend that everything’s okay but be assured, deep down, that everything is alright That everything will turn out alright in the end, it will turn out well really well in eternity for those who trust in Jesus Because we have nothing to fear in death We are going to glory with Jesus and we and we have nothing to fear in disappointment and losing the things we’d hoped for and invested in in this life,

because if we have God on our side helping us that is the greatest person in the universe with us moment by moment whatever we’re going through The resurrection turns tragedy into triumph Well may God open our eyes to see that today and may we know it and live it day by day whatever difficult times we’re going through at the moment. Let’s pray Lord God please open my eyes that I may see Jesus for who he really is Thank you that Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sin Thank you that he rose again to create new life for me Help me to understand Jesus more To put my trust in him, and whatever goes on in my life to know the hope and the joy that the resurrection brings. Amen Well we’re now going to sing our next song ‘Be thou my vision’. A prayer asking God to open our eyes to see Jesus and to live day by day with our eyes fixed on him and him alone Let’s sing together Well now we’re going to have a time of confession, saying sorry to God for all the ways in which we failed him in recent days and weeks and asking for his forgiveness Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy upon us,

pardon and deliver us from all our sins, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness, and keep us in life eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen We’re now going to have a time of prayer led by Margaret Rutter from Deane Church Let’s pray together Lord Jesus we acknowledge you as Lord and King All power in heaven and on earth is yours When you died and rose again you defeated all the powers of evil, and now you sit at the right hand of your Father We praise and honour you and give thanks for what you have done for us In the garden of Gethsemane you prayed ‘Father if you are willing remove this cup from me, nevertheless not my will but yours be done’ And we pray that prayer too Father if you are willing in your power please halt the spread of Coronavirus We ask for a cure and a vaccine Nevertheless not our will but yours be done We pray for those who are suffering because of it. Those who are ill at home, in care homes, or in hospital We pray for those who are caring for them and those who are mourning the loss of loved ones Please comfort them and strengthen them with your love Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord Just as those on the road to Emmaus did not recognise Jesus, we pray for those, especially those we love, who have not yet encountered the risen Lord Father God, as we look back at this time of confusion, fear, pain, sadness and loneliness we ask that we would be able to say of many people ‘and their eyes were opened and they recognised him.’ Open our eyes, Father, to the beauty and infinite worth of our Lord Make us hungry for your word. Fill us with compassionate courage and may your glory shine through us as we serve others Your kingdom come and your will be done May we see your kingdom growing soul by soul, day by day, until the whole earth sings He’s my Lord, He’s my lord He is risen from the dead and he’s my Lord Every knee has bowed, and every tongue confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord. Amen Finally let’s pray the Lord’s Prayer Why don’t we pray this together this morning? Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven Give us today our daily bread Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen And now may the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and our minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen

Amen. See you next time